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Beating the Odds: Finding Schools Exceeding Achievement Expectations with High-Risk Students

by Barbara Foorman, Sharon Koon and Yaacov Petscher

State education leaders are often interested in identifying schools that have demonstrated success with improving the literacy of students who are at the highest level of risk for reading difficulties. The identification of these schools that are "beating the odds" is typically accomplished by comparing a school's observed performance on a particular exam, such as a state achievement exam, with how the school would be expected to perform when taking into account its demographic characteristics including the percentage of students classified as economically disadvantaged, minority, or as an English language learner. This study used longitudinal data from the Florida Department of Education on grade 3 public school students for the academic years 2010/11-2012/13 to determine which schools are exceeding student achievement expectations, and what demographic similarities exist between schools that are exceeding expectations and other schools. Two appendices present: (1) Details on the analyses and results; and (2) Statistics for schools beating the odds. [This report was prepared for the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) under Contract ED-IES-12-C-0011 by Regional Educational Laboratory Southeast administered by the Florida Center for Reading Research, Florida State University. For the summary of this report, see ED544803.]

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